What to Expect In Your First Yoga-Dance Fusion Class

The fact that Tribal Trance Yoga exists shows that we live in a unique and exciting era of yoga where experimentation is welcome. Teachers are exploring different ways to approach the practice and various types of movement to integrate with the traditional asanas (aka yoga postures).

From goat yoga to silent disco yoga, it seems there are endless new ways that are cropping up for everyone to engage with the practice.

I recently came across a new yoga-dance fusion class called Tribal Trance Flow and the website described it as a unique mixture of free-form movement and guided yoga flow with elements of Kundalini and tribal dancing.

The structure of the class is unlike what you’ll find at most studios as the teacher moved seamlessly from cueing us through standard poses to inviting us to explore natural movement.

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical and a fair amount of nervous going into the class, but I found it to be one of the most powerful and natural forms of yoga and movement that I’ve ever experienced.

My Experience of Trying a New Type of Yoga

Almost all of us have some sort of body-image issues. For me, that shows itself in my clumsiness. I always considered myself decidedly not-graceful. That is, until I took my first Tribal Trance Flow class.

Throughout the class, the tribal music increased in intensity as the teacher guided us further and further from the comfort zone of traditional postures and offered more opportunities to explore moving on our own. She invited us to listen to our bodies and by the end, the entire studio was dancing, stomping, and moving fearlessly around their mats.

As we did, I felt something I don’t often feel in movement classes . . .

I felt graceful. I felt free as I rolled my hips, stomped my feet, and explored my range of motion in an authentic and instinctual way.

We moved alongside a powerful combination of shamanic drumming, tribal flutes, and strong vocal chanting. The robust beat helped shed the layers of tension and self-doubt that were holding me back and offered a path into open hearted freedom.

I felt free as I rolled my hips, stomped my feet, and explored my range of motion in an authentic and instinctual way.

The teacher’s constant reminders to “let go” encouraged this process of releasing thoughts, emotions, doubts, limiting beliefs, and self-judgements to the power of the flow.

True to the name, Tribal Trance Flow is inspired by the practice of tribal dancing. This was the first yoga-dance fusion class I had ever experienced, and I pretty quickly fell in love.

Benefits of Practicing Yoga-Dance Fusion

The yoga element of a Tribal Trance class features traditional asanas that we know and love. It’s where you can ground yourself in the familiar and reap the seemingly endless benefits of practicing yoga.

The health benefits of dance are also vast. Physically, it strengthens our heart, lungs, muscles, endurance, and bones. It also helps improve coordination, agility, flexibility, balance, and proprioception.

As if that weren’t enough, dancing releases endorphins and improves our general mental wellbeing and self-confidence.

After class, you’ll feel calmer, lighter, and livelier that yoga or dance alone can offer.

Bringing these two elements together creates a power-house of a practice. And you can feel it as you flow.

Simultaneously, you’re enjoying the playful freedom of dance while bringing in the awareness and presence of yoga. After class, you’ll feel calmer, lighter, and livelier that yoga or dance alone can offer.

While the fusion of yoga and dance may not be traditional, it is a beautiful new way to combine the benefits of both practices to create something new that offers yogis freedom in their flow.

From Buti Yoga (which combines Vinyasa, tribal dance and plyometrics), to Carol Baxter’s Tribal Trance Flow, we’re seeing more and more yoga classes that invite in elements of dance and free-form movement. This unique fusion is an exciting way to explore the best of both worlds.

What to Know Before You Try a Yoga-Dance Fusion Class

Trying a new class can be scary, so if you’re considering checking out Tribal Trance Flow or any type of yoga-dance fusion class, here are some recommendations to ease your nerves before you go:

1. You will move differently than you’ve ever moved before

There’s going to be a lot of unique movement in this class, so dress comfortably and come with an open mind and an attitude of exploration. If you’re expecting a traditional asana practice, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re willing to try something new, you’ll enjoy the experience.

2. You are going to sweat – a lot

The classroom may not be heated, but dancing is a sweaty cardio practice, and the movements and music will create heat inside and out. Dress accordingly and, if you’re self-conscious about sweating (though there’s no need to be!!) you can always bring a towel or a change of clothing.

3. The way you move is up to you

Whether you want to go all out move subtly and slowly, no movements are off limits. So if you’re worried about the dance element of the class, know that you can always stick with more familiar movements and no one will judge you (or even notice).

Should You Try a Yoga-Dance Fusion Class?

Yoga is about seeking. It’s about exploring what works for your body and discovering new ways to build a stronger and deeper connection with your spirit.

Yoga and dance fusion classes offers the freedom to move the way your body wants to, and also the encouragement to listen to your inner self. It’s a chance to discover a different side of your yoga practice and experiment with a new form of movement.

For me, it was exactly what I needed to refresh my practice. Who knows what the experience will be like for you, but when it comes to new yoga offerings, my general philosophy is When in doubt, try it out.

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Sarah Dittmore

Sarah Dittmore is a yoga student and host of the yoga-themed podcast, The Beginner's Mind. Listen to her podcast and check out her website where she questions and explores all things yoga-ish.


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